Past Event

Faded Reels: The Golden Era of Cambodian Cinema

October 14, 2022
3:00 PM - 8:00 PM
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Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice - McGeorge Bundy Room / 320 East 43rd Street New York, NY 10017

***Proof of vaccination is required to attend***

The beginning of the 1960s saw the growth of the Cambodian film industry. Although heavily influenced by the politics of the time, many films celebrated the country's cultural legacies that ushered in what is considered to be Cambodia's golden age of cinema. Cambodia's political upheavals saw complete destruction of the industry as artists of all disciplines were targeted and killed under the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime from 1975 to 1979.

The 1990s saw a slow return of the Cambodian film industry, mostly through karaoke videos as well as the rise of the internationally recognized filmmaker, Rithy Panh, who brought back feature filmmaking and a new documentary genre. However, westerners who have written about Cambodian cinema chalked it up as either non-existent or at best B-rated horror movies. This gave rise to a need to document the contribution of early Cambodian cinema and its recent revival as an art form.

Join the New York Southeast Asia Network (NYSEAN), Mekong NYC, and the Weatherhead East Asian Institute for a double-feature screening of Cambodia's pre-war films Mother’s Heart by Yvon Hem and Thavary Meas Bong by Uong Citta. This will be followed by the NYC book launch of Faded Reels: The Art of Four Cambodian Filmmakers 1960-1975 by Dr. LinDa Saphan, Sociology Professor at the College of Mount Saint Vincent which covers the early history of Cambodian cinema and four pioneering directors: Ly Bun Yim, Tea Lim Koun, Yvon Hem, and Uong Citta (aka Kanthouk) with a Q&A session with Dr. Saphan and Cambodian film collector Nate Hun. The discussion will be moderated by Sreyneath Poole, NYSEAN Program Coordinator.



3:00 PM - 4:30 PM: Mother’s Heart (1963) by Yvon Hem

Mother's Heart tells the story of star-crossed lovers Chomnab, a wealthy and handsome man played by Nop Nem, and Chenda, a servant girl played by Keo Montha, whose past experiences with a man have made her distrustful of all men. The film also features Som Van Soudany and Sak Sisbong in supporting roles. Set in contemporary Phnom Penh, the film was shot in 16mm and produced by Van Chann Film.

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM: Thavary Meas Bong (1969) by Uong Citta

Thavary Meas Bong is a contemporary romantic drama with an all-star cast featuring Som Van Soudany, Kong Som Oeun, Vichara Dany, and So Hean in the lead and supporting roles, respectively. Running just short of two hours, the film offers the audience a deep dive into the psychological states of its characters, specifically explored through the supporting roles of obsessive Sunny, played by Vichara Dany, and Sorin, played by So Hean.

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM: Faded Reels: The Art of Four Cambodian Filmmakers book launch and Q&A with Dr. LinDa Saphan and Nate Hun.

Contact Information

Sreyneath Poole